Our Planet

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the bare, whitened trunks of a “ghost forest” are one of the effects of surging waters that turn woodland into marsh.

Why Marshlands Are the Perfect Lab for Studying Climate Change

At the border between land and sea, an extraordinary set of experiments is helping us prepare for an uncertain future

The Maka Niu, a low-cost, customizable deep-sea observing tool is currently undergoing testing around the world, including at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts.

This Low-Cost Device Could Make the Deep Sea Accessible to Everyone

The inexpensive Maka Niu collects video and data at depths more than five times greater than trained scuba divers can go

The project started eight years ago, when artists Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott had no words to describe the anxiety they were experiencing over California’s drought.

Art Meets Science

How Two California Artists Can Help Personalize Your Eco-Grief

Alicia Escott and Heidi Quante founded the Bureau of Linguistical Reality to create words to help describe people's feelings about climate change

The current drought reveals lost items from earlier, wetter times, like this sunken boat near Iceberg Canyon.

The Breathtaking Glen Canyon Reveals Its Secrets

Water woes threaten America’s second largest reservoir—but leave new vistas in their wake

Burls are bark-covered growths that can protrude from a tree’s trunk. They contain unsprouted bud tissue, and produce a wood that’s valued for its unique grain and smooth workability.

What Is the Financial Value of an Old-Growth Tree?

In setting fines for timber poaching, experts are looking at different ways to calculate the worth of trees

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (1970). Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Mud, precipitated salt crystals, rocks, water. 1,500 ft. (457.2 m) long and 15 ft. (4.6 m) wide. Collection Dia Art Foundation. Photograph: William T. Carson, 2020

How Utah's 'Spiral Jetty' Is Drawing Attention to the Climate Crisis

Years of drought have exposed Robert Smithson's massive earthwork in the Great Salt Lake

Eelgrass grows in the waters off Birch Island, Maine. The plant supports a bountiful and diverse ecosystem.

Why Eelgrass in the Atlantic Ocean Faces an Uphill Battle

The Ice Age left the plant off our East Coast with less genetic diversity than its relative in the Pacific

A wave carrying plastic washes up in Thailand. For microbes in the ocean, floating plastic is a new potential ecosystem. And those microbes include pathogens that can make people sick. 

Human Pathogens Are Hitching a Ride on Floating Plastic

Studies show that various harmful bacteria cling to microplastics in seawater

Quebec’s Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are at the mercy of rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. The fragile dunes, lagoons, marshes, and sandstone cliffs are all at risk of being lost.

The Sea Is Slowly Consuming Quebec's Magdalen Islands

Those living in the doomed paradise face a stark choice: resist, adapt, or give in to the ravenous ocean

Sea turtles, such as olive ridleys and loggerheads, spend most of their time just below the ocean’s surface—the perfect place to collect data for tropical cyclone forecasting.

Tagged Turtles Are Helping Scientists Predict Cyclones

In the southeast Indian Ocean, turtle-borne sensors are filling in the gaps researchers need to forecast storms

In the midst of fire- and drought-ravaged savanna in southeastern Madagascar, a curiously lush green forest is home to myriad unexpected life-forms, including a species of mouse lemur.

Into the Forbidden Forest

Famed American biologist Patricia Wright explores an astonishing breadth of biodiversity in the wilderness of Madagascar

Struvite is a nuisance for wastewater treatment plants, as it can clog pipes and lines. But the crystal, which is high in phosphorous, nitrogen, and magnesium, makes an excellent slow-release fertilizer for seagrass.

Human Pee Might Just Be the Key to Saving Seagrass

Treating wastewater creates struvite—a nutrient-rich crystal that bolsters struggling seagrass beds

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When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said 'No Thanks'

Back in the 19th century, coal was the nation's newfangled fuel source—and it faced the same resistance as wind and solar today

In their dissent, the court's three liberal judges wrote that their fellow justices had stripped the EPA of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

History of Now

How the Clean Air Act Came to Be

A new Supreme Court ruling curbs the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the 1970 legislation

Glowing green waters surrounded a boat in the Arabian Sea.

What Causes Swaths of the Ocean to Glow a Magnificent Milky Green?

A sailor who witnessed the rare phenomenon in person and a scientist who saw it from the sky team up to learn about the ghostly light

Royal kombu (aka sugar kelp) harvested from the Netherlands’ first organic seaweed farm enriches and flavors the Dutch Weed Burger’s soy-chip-based patty.

Innovation for Good

Is Seaweed the Next Big Alternative to Meat?

From kelp burgers to bacon of the sea, sustainable food entrepreneurs are innovating to charm hungry omnivores

The Earth’s oceans have risen and fallen over the millennia. But they have, on average, been relatively stable over billions of years. The balance of the deep water cycle—the exchange of water between the Earth’s surface and its interior—has an important role to play in maintaining that stability.

How the Earth's Mantle Sends Water Up Toward the Surface

A new model suggests "mantle rain" ensures we will always have a surface ocean

Participants in First Nature Tours help mitigate damages from wildfires in Central Oregon.

Regenerative Tourism Invites Travelers to Get Their Hands Dirty

Vacations that allow tourists to participate in conservation activities, such as habitat restoration, are growing in popularity

Las Salinas in Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Puerto Rico

These Salt Flats in Puerto Rico Are Cotton-Candy Pink

The distinct color of Las Salinas comes from a combination of algae, bacteria, salt and water

Blue holes, like the Great Blue Hole in Belize, are vast caverns that descend into the seafloor. Sediment accumulates at the bottom of a blue hole, giving researchers a way to gauge historical hurricane activity.

Blue Holes Show Hurricane Activity in the Bahamas Is at a Centuries-Long Low

Many more powerful storms battered the region in the past

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